• leeweston9

Sleep- The overlooked aspect in improving quality of life

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Sleep is vital to the functioning of our body, both physically and mentally. If you are not getting enough then you know about it sooner or later and had a big impact on your mood, mental capabilities, decision making and also physical capacity to do exercise and the speed of recovery.

If you are not sleeping very well then try to incorporate some of these points below into your bedtime routine and help:

1. Get a routine: Try to wake up at the same time every day- even on weekends. This will mean you will get better quality sleep.

2. Don't nap in the day: This can disrupt the hormones that control your sleep wake cycle and lead to a poor night’s sleep.

3. Don't hit snooze: This won’t gain you any more rest as it is not enough time to enter all the stages of sleep (5 of them) and will probably feel more tired. Take a count of 3 and take the covers off and get up and out of bed.

4. Relax an hour before bed: This doesn't mean watching TV or being in front of a screen as this can actually reduce melatonin levels which are a hormone which induces tiredness. Try to listen to music, possibly read or do an activity that you find relaxing.

5. Have a note pad and pen next to the bed: If you are struggling to fall asleep and are worry then write all the things you have to do tomorrow so then you won’t forget or worry about them in getting to sleep.

6. Get up if you can’t fall asleep: If you are in bed more than 20 minutes and can’t sleep then get up and do something until you feel tired and then try again. Continue this process until you can sleep.

7. Keep the bed for sleeping: Try to only associate the bed with sleeping, so don't work or watch TV or anything else with bed as this will not create a relaxing environment.

8. Don't exercise or eat too late: Exercising too late will keep you up and awake and eating late will not allow complete digestion of your meal.

9. If you are awake early: If you wake earlier than your alarm then get up and be productive as for the same reason as point 3. If this happens on a regular basis try to condensing your sleep as

10. Have your bed room a few degrees cooler: Your body temperature drops during sleep and if your room is too warm this will affect the quality of your sleep.

11. It is a myth that you need 8 hours sleep: Everyone is individual and it was said that people like Winston Churchill and Margret Thatcher only had 4-5 hours a night. Children and teenagers need more though and as we get older we can live on less. Sleep is very important for recovery.

12. Avoid alcohol & caffeine before bed: Alcohol stops you from entering deep sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and this is the most important stage. If you are struggling to sleep then try to have a hot drink as an alternative, not caffeinated drinks such as coffee, coke, tea or energy drinks (chocolate also contains caffeine), try hot milk or a herbal / decaf tea. This will help with the drop in your body temperature when you go to bed, linked to point 10, thus allowing you to sleep quicker and better. Note caffeine stays in the system and has an effect up to 4 hours after consumption!

13. Keep a log: Include bed time, when you woke, how long you slept, what you did before you went to sleep, number and time of caffeinated drink or alcohol, amount of exercise during the day, your mood that day and how many times you woke during the night. This will help you identify when you have slept well and felt rested. Hopefully you can highlight factors that may have helped or disturbed your sleep so then in future you can ensure they are in or out of your bed time routine.

Try these steps and see what works for you. There is nothing worse than facing a day tired and also sleep deprivation has a big impact on physical and mental performance.

#sleep #sleepwell #sleephygiene

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